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STD in the workplace

I know this is a topic that most people don’t want to talk about but it is serious. STDs are not to be taken lightly and the effect they have on your workforce can be devastating.

For those of you that thought I was referring to sexually transmitted diseases, please get you head out of the gutter. I was referring to Short-Term Disability. A funny story here…

About 10 years ago, I was an executive at a publicly traded company overseeing our business development group. I was meeting with the staff and explaining the changes that were happening to our health care. For those of us in business, we refer to this as open enrollment.

As I was going through the presentation, there was a question from the back of the room: “Why are you taking money out of my pay just because I have an STD?” I’ll let that linger in your mind for a second.

After I carefully explained that the company was not aware of her particular situation, I also let her know that the “STD” on her paycheck represented the employee’s portion (deduction) of her Short-Term Disability policy.

Before I get to the reason why I am writing this, I would also like to add that I, too, was not fully knowledgeable about all things on a paycheck when I landed my first job after college.

C.W. Amos and & Co. (now part of RSM McGladrey) offered me $24,000 a year. I started thinking about how I was going to spend that $2,000 per month. We were paid monthly (which created other issues) and when I received my first check I learned about taxes. A whopping $1,439.82 was deposited into my Equitable Bank account. You know what the difference represents.

The fact is that if your employees do not understand their paychecks, you lose. As employers, we develop employee benefit plans that are meant to recruit and retain the best. If the employee does not place a value on the benefits and understand why they have a deduction then you are spending your employee benefit dollars foolishly.

Don’t be foolish. Take the time to explain all your benefits to your employees. Explain to them their total compensation plan. If they do not understand the value of the investment, then all you have is an expense. And when you’re done explaining it, ask them what they think. You may be surprised to learn what your employees find valuable.